Northern Star: Hawks’ Cole Koepke
For this week’s Northern Star we travel to Hermantown to meet a senior whose strong play on the ice is paving the Hawks’ way back to the state tournament.
For Cole Koepke, his desire to skate for the Hawks started by watching his brother before him.
“I’ve been in hockey ever since I grew up. My older brother Travis, who’s 3 years older than me, he always played hockey growing up, so did my Dad. I knew I really want to play hockey as long as I can probably my sophomore year, first year of high school after watching my brother 3 years of going to the state tournament, looks like something you can’t pass up,” explained Cole Koepke, Hermantown senior captain.
Playing his way up through the ranks, Cole is accepting his role as a leader both on and off the ice.
“My last two years have had a lot of great leadership on the team, so to finally be a senior and be a leader, it’s a great honor. It’s a great history, great program, it’s a bunch of great guys and it’s awesome to be a leader and obviously get the championship banner up there is the goal,” Koepke said.
For Bruce Plante, having a leader like Cole means more than just having a weapon on the ice. It means having a mentor for the upcoming underclassmen.
“Cole does a really great job of doing the right things on the ice, working hard, and he also does all the right things in the classroom and is a good leader with the kids, they really like him a lot so they follow him pretty good so he’s great to have in a hockey club,” Plante said.
Koepke had some big skates to fill after playing with Nate Peon and Matt Kero just a year earlier, but Cole’s teammates say he’s more than stepped up.
“Playing with him is a privilege, he’s a quick kid, he’s fast, he has a great shot,” said Ryan Sandelin, a Hawks forward.
“On the ice he’s really focused, good, hard, smart player, he’s always in the right spot, you can always find him in the right position and just pass him the puck,” said Jesse Jacques, a Hawks forward.
But for Cole and his teammates, it’s the common goal of finally capturing that elusive state championship that really matters.